The Benefits of Being Unproductive

In a world where everyone is required to be productive, it’s nice to take a break every once in awhile. Some people prefer the company of their friends and family over work, but some choose not even that for more time with themselves. Being unproductive has benefits beyond just relaxation: It can help you live better, feel guilt-free about wasting money on yourself, or give you balance when life feels overwhelming.

“Being unproductive” is a term that means not doing anything. However, there are many benefits to being unproductive.

unproductivityIt may seem at first to be a contradiction or a counterintuitive thought to do less in order to be more productive. However, there is a distinction to be made between being busy and being productive.

Businesses are continually attempting to cram more activities into a shorter period of time. Increased connectedness both within and outside of the office blurs the distinction between work and life as it now exists. However, for people who own and operate their own enterprises, it is normal for work and personal life to become intimately entwined. Any entrepreneur must strive to be more productive and successful, but the danger is that you may get so engrossed in your work that you will be unable to shut off. It has the potential to do more damage than benefit.

There is just so much time in a day. We quickly deplete that resource—time—by ignoring our downtime in order to create more work. When we run out of spare moments, we’re left with just our energy and willpower. Working too long hours, on the other hand, is inefficient and puts our health and happiness at risk in exchange for mediocre outcomes.

Why do we put forth so much effort?

Many individuals “mistakenly assume there’s truly a moment when we get everything done that we want, or should, or anticipate, and we start to equate resting with being lazy, terrible, or useless,” according to Dr. Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D., LCSW. Burnout, missed chances, lost relationships, and stress may all result from this mindset.

According to a Harvard Business Review report, 94 percent of 1000 professionals worked at least 50 hours each week. Almost half of them worked more than 65 hours each week, not considering the 20-25 hours spent on the phone outside of work answering business calls and messages.

The article also describes an experiment that put the “always on” idea to the test by forcing people to entirely disconnect from their jobs and take time off, with somewhat contradictory outcomes.

What does it mean to have excellent downtime?

Work smarter, not harder.

It “feels” like we’re being productive when we’re busy, which is a misleading illusion. Even when we are productive, not all of our labor is created equally. Less is more in this scenario.

There are several advantages to cultivating a culture that prioritizes quality above quantity. Multitasking reduces an individual’s IQ by an average of 15 points, putting them on par with an average 8-year-old, according to a research from the University of London. Staying up all night has the same impact.

Resting is not the same as being sedentary.

However, just as not all sorts of rest are created equal, not all degrees of productivity are created equal. Overindulgence may lead to sluggishness, but taking time off when you entirely disconnect from work can enhance creativity, productivity, and general pleasure and well-being.

It’s crucial to strike a balance.

Taking time to totally disconnect from work and unwind, whether it’s with friends or family, binge-watching Netflix, or focusing on a hobby, may help you achieve a better work-life balance. Taking this time to reflect on your work life might help you feel more in control.

The brain yearns for diversity.

Great work necessitates stepping away from your desk on sometimes in favor of new and exciting activities. It allows your mind to analyze and make sense of the information it has acquired. Our unconscious brain processes the accumulation of knowledge with a mix of varying degrees of idleness and distinct settings. It prepares us to overcome mental blockages by linking apparently unrelated data to solve issues in ways we would not have considered otherwise.

Burnout should be avoided at all costs.

Taking time off on a regular basis might also help to prevent burnout. Burnout at work entails more than simply being weary and overworked. It’s a state of mental, bodily, and emotional tiredness coupled by an overpowering feeling of despair that affects every part of your life, both personal and professional.

Job burnout is caused by long-term, unresolved stress on the job. Fatigue, sleeplessness, sadness, anxiety, a reduced immunological response to infections, heart disease, and the list goes on and on. It takes considerably longer to recover from than a day or two and may have long-term implications. Turning off your computer provides a change of pace for your mind and body, as well as an opportunity to relax and relieve tension.

Taking preventive steps for burnout enhances long-term productivity, and for entrepreneurs, it might be the difference between expanding or shutting your business.

How to Work Efficiently

Profiting from inefficiency isn’t always simple; it requires experience and dedication, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Being as consistent as possible might go a long way toward helping you switch off, particularly if you have a “always on” mindset.

The majority of people who are adept at switching off have a passion to divert their attention away from work, such as reading, sports, crafts, or even meditation. It is feasible to plan your working and routines in such a manner that allows you to take mental breaks.

1. Make a list of your priorities.

Determine the most critical and time-sensitive activities. Even though a job is urgent, it is not always significant. Avoid becoming sidetracked by non-essential duties that arise during the day.

Make a habit of setting out 30 minutes each day for little chores that may be completed in less than five minutes. This can help you avoid the productivity loss that multitasking causes.

2. Take frequent pauses

Concentration deteriorates with time, and job productivity and quality suffer as a result. Use automation technologies to automate low-value, repetitive chores so you may concentrate on higher-priority work.

Take small breaks every 40 to 60 minutes while working on a day-long assignment to allow your brain to relax and digest the mental clutter. Make a cup of coffee, read the news, or take a power sleep.

3. Turn off the computer at the end of the day.

Finally, when work is completed, it is completed! Finish the last job of the day and turn off your computer. Leave work and its rigors at work, and take the time you need to recharge.

After that, have a decent night’s sleep, which is the perfect downtime. Most importantly, don’t check your email or work while lying in bed. Allow yourself to disconnect entirely before going to bed and first thing in the morning.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to be unproductive sometimes?

A: It is not recommended to be unproductive all the time, but it is OK as long as you are producing something.

How do you feel better about being unproductive?

A: Well, the only way I was productive before is by doing something that made me feel a sense of accomplishment. What did you do?

Is it OK to have an unproductive work day?

A: No, it is not.

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